Your very own racing simulator
No matter how seriously you take your sim racing craft, the transition to a full cockpit marks the attainment of ultimate Zen racing credibility. I jest of course, but for me, and those who have, it certainly feels that way. You may only play racing sims once a week, or less frequently, so it’s very easy to rationalise just driving at your desk, but there comes a point where you know sim racing is a true love of yours, and that’s the time to jump in and not put this off; you will only regret not doing it sooner if you delay.
A ‘cockpit’ can be a $200 pedal and wheel stand like the Next Level Racing Wheel Stand Lite , or the slightly more robust Trak Racer FS3 for $280 . A full frame and seat can be had for around $400, such as the DXRacer Combo 200 , or the popular Next Level Racing GT Pro V2 for $575. Closer to $1,000 buys you a very solidly built cockpit with a big comfy seat like the $900 Next Level Racing GT Ultimate V2, which is where you start to see options for adding flight sim support (this one has a $89 optional extra attachments for your HOTAS gear).
Unfortunately Playseat, one of the leaders in this scene with nice gear and a big range, doesn’t have an Australian distributor - but if you hear that’s changed definitely take a look!
Many of the Next Level Racing cockpits can also be upgraded with a full motion platform. The company’s Racing Motion Simulator Platform V3 is very highly regarded and is a compact unit that attaches to the base. It’s something you can start without and perhaps add later, and while it’s not cheap at $3,999, it’s a sophisticated system with super-fast hydraulics simulating six degrees of movement that can handle a heavy rig and racer. Stand-alone rigs built around motion generally start at well over $10,000, for some perspective on why this is actually a good deal.
I chose the Next Level Racing F1 GT for my rig. It ticked all of my boxes and then some, with just a couple of drawbacks. Before I explain why, let’s look at why you would want a sim cockpit in the first place, instead of just using your desk.